Checkpoint Charlie The Play

Checkpoint Charlie is our new play that plots the real event of the actual theft of Charlie Chaplin’s body, in 1978 by two immigrants.

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 Checkpoint Charlie is our new play that plots the real event of the actual theft of Charlie Chaplin’s body. In 1978 two immigrants from Eastern Europe, stole the body of Chaplin from Corsier-Sur-Vevey cemetery, in Switzerland. The desperate attempt to change their lives results in punishment and complications. We focus on Chaplin’s strong performing influences in today’s theatre, using his lifetime to shine a light on current issues, such as immigration. Chaplin experienced immigration and the feeling of coming to live permanently in a foreign country.

The real two characters, as our fictionalised- devised characters, remind us of Chaplin’s movie characters. This feels to be the last chapter in Chaplin's influential life, and needs to be celebrated on stage.

 Coeval I is a relatively new Theatre company, consist of artists with excellent understanding and practice of devised theatre. The members of Coeval I worked with Zecora Ura- Hotel Medea in the Arcola Theatre, and Southbank centre with Persis Jade Maravala and Jorge Lopes Ramos. Collaborating with the Theatre Lab Company, Helen Spackman, Physical Lab, Ernst Fisher, William Galinsky, Francesco Censi. Our members are professionally trained. Studies involve Central School of Speech and Drama, Rada, (BA) Performing Arts, Method Acting London, Meisner Technique, Complicite Workshops, Giles Foreman Soho Studio.. Members of Coeval I collaborated and assisted Magnus Irvin, Antony Mc Donald, Mark Fisher, Es Devlin. Coeval I was born, to accomplish the arrival of Check Point Charlie, a project of ten years research. The play’s own journey has been life-changing, remaining a constant for the team throughout the whole period and personal, professional development.

We are an experienced team with dedicated members and we specialise in different sectors of the performing arts. We combine a multidisciplinary community, which is linked and focused in making real stories into performances for the theatre. Our experience in devising started in 2005 when we created Unica Zurn’s diary into a play. We toured in London, Italy and Greece.

Checkpoint Charlie is more than just a re-telling of a real story. Based on systematic exploration, research development and workshops, we will bring the story of the theft of Chaplin’s body to life on stage. Our play is innovative and has not been seen on stage previously. We propose an interdisciplinary theatre method, incorporating physical theatre, Method Acting, Meisner and Technological Projection Mapping and want the audience to experience how modern Chaplin’s comedy can be. Exploring the themes that run through Chaplin’s stories, we feel that Checkpoint Charlie is a great theatrical experience and channel Chaplin’s strong performing influences. In this heightened time of European crisis, we need to bring back the man that showed us that language, culture and economical status is not paramount in human relations - let us never forget that Chaplin was an immigrant himself. Chaplin is an international icon and, in producing one of his life’s real stories, we’re bringing together artists of diverse origin and culture to express how they have been influenced by Chaplin’s work. We explore themes of immigration during his life, after his death and today and look deeply at the reality of those themes by workshopping one of Chaplin’s golden rules – Silence – to see how the quality of work becomes enrichened once silence exists. The communication between artists is connected on a more profound level, creativity and mind sharpen and all senses heightened.

 The virtuosity and legend of Charlie Chaplin has long been a dear subject in our practise and study. Knowledgeable about his art and ideas, the skilled, entrepreneurial man behind the white mask captivates us. He was a director, writer, actor, composer, dancer, producer and cameraman. As Coeval I, we take his greatness and channel it through our play; from costume to script, to lighting and editing. From our own frequent theatre visits, we find that Chaplin is missing from the theatrical scene and believe he has a lot to communicate to actors, directors and audience. One of the most loved men on earth, we would like to remind today’s audience of his stellar presence and revive his legend. Charlie Chaplin has a magnitude of that of Stein Lauren, Buster Keaton, Oliver Hardy, and Audrey Hepburn and he deserves a “Chair” in his hometown. Our attempt to bring Chaplin back in front of the audience needs a delicate and specialised approach. We focus on art and serious theatre-making, as this is what we know but also because of the sensitive nature of featuring such iconic figure. Our company represents the story with integrity, culture and expertise and we need support if our production can uphold the high quality standards required for this type of play. As we build our network, we find many people are increasingly interested to see the play. We are driven by the responsibility to deliver a superlative production and bring centre stage the man that re-invented Commedia Del Arte.